Whether one is a Republican or a Democrat, poor or wealthy, of one race or another, gay or straight, or any other category one can imagine, President Obama’s State of the Union address held one message that was more important for us to hear than any other part:
“Each time I look at that flag, I’m reminded that our destiny is stitched together like those 50 stars and those 13 stripes. No one built this country on their own. This nation is great because we built it together. This nation is great because we worked as a team. This nation is great because we get each other’s backs. And if we hold fast to that truth, in this moment of trial, there is no challenge too great; no mission too hard. As long as we are joined in common purpose, as long as we maintain our common resolve, our journey moves forward, and our future is hopeful, and the state of our Union will always be strong.” ~ President Barack Obama, January 24, 2012
At our best, we are a unified nation that allows for dissent, but always remembers that we all have one flag. We do not compartmentalize the red stripes from the white stripes, the stars from the blue field. It is one flag. We can find as many ideas of how to make things better as we have American citizens, but we have forgotten something along the way. Our leader must be at the front of that fight.
When I was a boy, my father and I would regularly be at loggerheads. I, in my ridiculous arrogance, thought my father didn’t know what he was talking about. I’d roll my eyes, and huff and puff whenever he said something that I imagined was said solely to embarrass me. The one thing I always remembered, though, is that he was my father, our family leader. I knew that he was always acting in the best interest of our family. As I grew into adulthood, I learned to respect my father’s brilliance as a businessman, dynamic love as a grandfather, and his rock solid wisdom as a father.
A president is not a father, he is a national leader. We have more room to question, argue, and rebut; however, we must also remember that until the time comes for us to change the individual inhabiting that office, he or she is still our president. Our president still makes the rally call around the flag, and we as Americans should heed that call with grace and strength, all eyes moving forward toward success and happiness.
If one is not a part of the resolution; if one is not a part of the constructive conversation; if one is solely beating his breast in lamentation of what is wrong and why it went wrong, then he should step aside and make room for those who want to assist in the process. Our stagnancy in Congress is an excellent example of what happens when we populate the houses of Congress with those who simply want to play the victims, and this means on both sides of the aisle.
Here is my message to Congress: Ladies and gentlemen of the 112th Congress of the United States of America,
Lay down your weapons and pick up your plowshares. You must stand next to one another and look forward rather than standing nose-to-nose, facing one another in unwavering arrogance. How can you possibly see where we need to go if all you keep in your sight line is your colleague as an enemy.
One final note to all public servants, Democrat, Republican, and otherwise – Even if you do not fully agree with the person who is currently president, or trust in his judgment, we the people of the United States of America chose him. If you do not trust the wisdom of the American people, please leave your post, because we are the ones to whom you ultimately answer, and we are the ones who invited you to serve in the first place.